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Talent show is a hit raising £51k for Racing Welfare

Newmarket-based charity Racing Welfare has smashed the £50,000 fundraising target it set for its singing talent contest the Furlong Factor.

The competition provided some night in entertainment during the current lockdown period and the public were asked donate the equivalent of their usual favourite night out to Racing Welfare’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal.

Out of an intitial bumper entry, 24 contestants, all workers in the racing industry, were selected to contest the heats and from these eight were voted through to the finals including from Newmarket trainer James Ferguson, Lilli Hines a rider with Godolphin pre-training, and Annie Martin, a rider with trainer William Haggas.

Lara Telfer proudly displays her Furlong Factor trophy specially designed and donated by Inkerman London
Lara Telfer proudly displays her Furlong Factor trophy specially designed and donated by Inkerman London

The competition final was held earlier this month and it was Lara Telfer, south west regional marketing manager for the Jockey Club , whose rendition of James Bay’s Let It Go, topped the vote in the final and walked away with the £1,500 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, courtesy of Racing Breaks.

“I actually can’t believe it,” said Lara. “There were such good singers in the final, they were all incredible, I’m gobsmacked. It’s been really fun and we can’t forget what it’s all about. Racing Welfare does an amazing job and it’s been a fantastic campaign to not only raise awareness for them but to raise some funds at a time they really need it and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

Celebrity judge JJ Hamblett, a former jockey and member of X-Factor finalists, Union J, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the Furlong Factor, a fantastic initiative combining both my passions of horse racing and music. Lara is a truly deserved winner and, along with all of the other participants, is a credit to the racing industry.”

The competition which saw the charity join forces with Great British Racing (GBR), the Tote and Sky Sports Racing, had the aim of raising much-needed funds for the charity’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal.

Due to the cancellation of planned fundraising events this year, Racing Welfare is a facing a £500,000 income deficit at a time when demand for its services has never been so high.

Dawn Goodfellow, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The demand for help from Racing Welfare has never been higher than now and I would ask everyone who has been watching and enjoying the Furlong Factor so far to donate to our
Covid-19 Emergency Appeal if they can.”